Potatoes are a great vegetable to grow at home, but they require a little more attention than other crops. If you’re new to gardening, you might wonder: how deep to plant potatoes?
Before answering this question, you’ll need to know what type of planting method you’ll use. Different planting methods have different depths, so it’s important to know which method you’ll use to know how deep you can plant your potatoes.
Planting potatoes using different methods
Potatoes are root vegetable that is best planted in the spring. They are a good choice for planting because they do not need to be staked and will produce a large harvest.
Potatoes can be planted directly into the soil, but it is best to use raised beds or containers to prevent the soil from being compacted.
Here are the different planting methods you can try.
- Raised beds
- Hydrophonic system
Method 1: How deep to plant potatoes in rows?
Planting potatoes in rows is the simplest method of all, but when it comes to growing, it can become challenging.
Here’s how you can plant potatoes in a row.
- Dig 4 to 6 inches hole in every 12 inches.
- Plant the potato in the hole.
- Cover it with soil.
This is a quick planting method because it requires less soil preparation. But there are downsides to this method.
- Tubers may fail to develop because of the small hole, giving the potato a compact soil.
- Growing potatoes in rows require more soil or mulch to put around the stem so you can initiate the tuber. That’s why we said earlier that growing potatoes in rows is challenging.
Method 2: How deep to plant potatoes in trenches?
As said earlier, planting potatoes in trenches is the best and most efficient method, especially if you plan to plant many potatoes.
Here’s how you can plant potatoes in trenches.
- Dig a deep trench of 12 inches. Set aside the removed soil by piling it near the trench.
- Plant potatoes with 12 inches of space between each other and along the bottom of the trench.
- Fill the trench with the soil of 4 inches.
- While your potatoes grow, fill the trench with the remaining soil.
Since the hole is 12 inches, it provides the potatoes enough room to grow.
But just like other methods, planting potatoes in trenches also has challenges.
- Rainwater can get stuck in deep trenches, leaving you with rot potatoes.
If you have a wet climate and plan to plant potatoes, we recommend using beds or containers, not trenches. This is because you have loose soils, which might not work with the trench method.
Method 3: How deep to plant potatoes in raised beds?
It would be better to plant raised beds with potatoes only and with no other plants involved.
Here’s how you can plant potatoes in raised beds.
- If your raised bed is less than 16 inches deep, there are two things you can do.
First, you can break the soil foundation to plant the potatoes.
The second option, you can have extra soil that you can pile on top of your plants by the time they outgrow your container.
- But if your raised bed has more than 16 inches deep, you can just fill it with 6 inches of garden soil or compost mixture.
- Then, dig 4 to 6 inches deep holes on your raised bed with 12 inches of space in between.
- Plant your potatoes in the holes and cover them with soil.
- Slowly add soil to the container as the potatoes grow.
You can easily harvest potatoes in raised beds if no other plants are planted with them.
Note: Avoid using the same raised bed when planting your potatoes for at least four years. It would be better to just discard the soil.
Method 4: How deep to plant potatoes in a container?
Planting potatoes in containers or grow bags doesn’t have to be deep. If you use potato seeds, you can plant them 2 to 4 inches deep and fill them with 4 inches of growing medium.
Here’s a more detailed step.
- Fill the one-third bottom of the container or growing bags with compost or soil.
- Then plant 2 to 3 potatoes on top of the soil while giving them even spaces in between.
- Add 10 cm o4 4 inches of compost or soil to the container.
- Water it.
- Just continue adding compost or soil until you fill the container.
This is a famous method of planting potatoes, but rotten potatoes are major challenges and drawbacks. But why?
This is because soil bags, compost bags, and trash bags can’t breathe and cannot hold moisture and heat. You can create drainage holes in the bottom by poking, but investing in commercial potato bags would be better.
Method 5: How deep to plant potatoes in a hydroponic system?
Hydroponics has been around for years, but this is a new way of a method when it comes to planting potatoes.
Here’s how you can plant potatoes in hydroponic beds.
- Use growing media to fill the hydroponic beds, and don’t forget to leave 2 inches of space on top.
- Just cycle your hydroponic system for a couple of weeks before planting. Three weeks will do. The purpose of this is to have enough population of beneficial bacteria.
- You have the option to pre-sprout your potato seeds before transferring them.
- Plant your potatoes at least 1 to 2 inches deep or until most leaves are covered. Make sure that the top few leaves are not covered.
- You can block light and promote tuber initiation by covering the growing media with a reflective or dark surface.
What’s good about the hydroponic method is you can still grow the same size potatoes as those in the traditional way. However, you can get a higher yield of small potatoes than that of normal size.
Plant your potatoes the right way!
It’s time to plant your potatoes! But how deep do you plant them? Do you bury them? Just cover them? Or do you leave them sticking out of the ground?
The answer is it depends. You may have heard that potatoes should be planted very shallowly, just enough to cover the eyes or sprouts. But this is not always the case. You should bury your seed potatoes as deeply as possible without damaging the sprout. This is because a potato tuber grows underground, and if you don’t bury it deep enough, it will rot before it can grow.
Follow the tips mentioned above, and don’t forget to choose a planting method that will fit your available resources. Happy gardening!